Many factors play into where a business locates itself, particularly in Europe where the continent's 50-odd countries vary considerably. Decision makers must think about the ease of navigating legal hurdles and trading across borders, not to mention the strength of an economy, availability of talent, market demand and more. But these days Berlin is shining brighter than many other metropolises when it comes to being a great place to start or expand a business. That's according to Federico Gonzalez Tejera, CEO of NH Hotel Group, which operates about 400 hotels with nearly 60,000 rooms in 30 countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Here's why he says the Spanish-based hotel chain--which has been heavily investing in its 10 business hotels throughout the city--sees Berlin as a hotbed for business.
1. Berlin is the fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world.
In fact, according to research conducted by analytics company Compass, Berlin boasts as many as 3,000 active tech startups which could create some 40,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. The city has seen a marked uptick in exits and VC investments in the last few years and has a high percentage of employees with prior startup experience. It also takes first place in terms of European workforce diversity with 49 percent and 27 percent of foreign and female employees, respectively, as of 2014.
2. The city's culture is infused with creativity, openness and transformation.
These attributes make an ideal canvas for a vibrant startup scene much focused on all things digital--eCommerce, gaming, SaaS and adtech--with film-making a particularly defining component of the city's character. "Whereas Frankfurt is more financial or Munich is more industrial, Berlin is very open to the world with many different cultures and languages spoken," Tejera says.
3. Investment is growing.
According to Compass, Berlin saw two IPOs north of $6 billion near the end of 2014 as well as exponential growth in exit volume and a doubling of venture capital investment.
4. Through it flows a constant influx of people.
There's good reason Lonely Planet included the beautiful, green and clean city on its "Best in Travel" list for 2016. With countless monuments and museums memorializing the many world-changing milestones that occurred on either side of the wall that once separated the east from the west, it's a European historical gem.
5. The cost of living won't break your bank, yet.
According to The Guardian, it costs less to live in Germany's capital than in seven other of the country's cities, including Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt. And compared with what you'll have to pay in a startup hub such as London, Berlin is downright cheap, at least for now. Thanks to an influx of immigrants, Berlin's rental prices are on the rise. In response, the city recently enacted a rent cap to avoid London's fare wherein tens of thousands of people vacate the city every year because they can't afford the roof over their heads.
6. The economy is stable.
While Europe has certainly had its problems in recent years, Germany has been resilient with an economy which has seen steady growth and relative legislative stability. This is opposed to France, which recently made significant changes to its tax laws. "[With] big changes in government taxation your business case may change completely," Tejera says. "In Germany there is the benefit of stability in the economic framework so you know that no matter if socialists or the right wins, there is going to be stability in your business case."